The Buzz | Feature | Summer 1987 | Photo: Sandro Hyams
PETER F FORD
WOULD YOU BUY A USED CAR FROM THIS MAN?
When he was a kid, he used to send his mum to buy a copy of Jackie every week, so he could have the colour pictures of Marc Bolan to put on his bedroom wall. He wants to call his debut album "If My Grandfather Had Five Balls He'd Be a Pinball Machine". He's six foot plus and weighs eight and a half stone.
He looks like Steve Severin after a heavy session on the rack. His favourite haunts are Ascension and Sacrosanct. He would like to have appeared on "Supersonic", just to hear Mike Mansfield say, "And cue Peter F Ford..."
What's the F stand for?
"Frank. It's after Frank Sinatra."
"That's me name!"
Yes, but is that part of your name after anybody? Uncle Pete, Peter Pan or someone?
"No, I was gonna be called Frank. That's me dad's name too. And Ford's not my real name. Nobody would remember my real name. It's because I've got a Ford Cortina. I really like the Mark III."
He could have been called Peter Cortina, but that sounds a bit too much like Peter Gordeno for comfort. I've a feeling I'm going to be taken for a ride here.
A Monday morning. It's raining. My Rottweiler has chewed up most of the mail again. The only thing left reasonably intact is a cassette by Peter F Ford. One of the tracks has the horrendous title, "Disco Me To Ecstasy". It's going to be one of those weeks.
"Disco Me To To Ecstasy" is a wild romp, the numbing hi-NRG beat honeycombed with keyboard interruptions and featuring a set of ludicrous lyrics. It's the sort of thing that could inspire loathing of unparalleled proportions. But it's a joke, isn't it? A bold, brilliant joke. There's really no need to ask. Is there?
"That song is the best idea I've ever had but, yeah, my tongue is quite far into my cheek," says Peter. "If people take it seriously then it suddenly has a totally different feel and people might think I'm out of date with my music, but that's not true.
"I wrote the words when I got back from Sacrosanct one night. I'm very observant and I kept thinking about all those punters on the dancefloor. I wanted to use the word 'disco' in a different sort of context, like 'Disco Duck' or 'Disco Inferno'. And 'ecstasy' is almost a Sylvester or a Barry White type of word. We seem to be in an age of dance - dancing is a big part of everyone's life now that sex isn't such a big thing - and 'Disco Me To Ecstasy' reflects that perfectly."
Peter was previously with Manchester band All About Eve - not the hippies, another one - and the creative and personal freedom that a solo career has given him is something he obviously cherishes. His musical interests range from ballads to boystown ballyhoos, with uptempo r&b skips in between, giving away his one-time love of the infamous Wigan Casino. They're largely uncomplicated affairs.
"I want to have a simple message. A lot of people don't want to get too involved, they just want to get into the rhythm. Like when you think about T-Rex, they were three or four chord songs, but with good ideas behind them. It's also a question of having music that suits my voice. It's not a nice voice, it just sounds pushy. I'm not trying to contrive it, that's the way it is. When people see me, they ask if I've got a stand-in."
Ah, the look. It's rather an oddball...
"D'you mean faggot? All I'm trying to do is to make the most of what I've got. I'm not a beautiful person. If you saw me with no clothes on, you'd be shocked. My body hasn't changed since I was 16. I've got some mad notions with regards clothes, mixing up things from the Seventies and Eighties, and I don't want to look like a designer singer. Your own personality has got to come out somewhere along the line. My personality is pretty schizophrenic – on the one hand I'm quite introspective but there's another side to me which is very flamboyant. So, yeah, I suppose I am a bit of an oddball. That's what my mum says anyway.
"I guess I'm trying to recreate a very English feel, using British culture as a reference point for the music, the clothes, the concept onstage. At times, it's almost a royal look. Britain is well known for producing eccentrics and individuals that others abroad copy. That's where I fit in. Fe-fi-fo-fum, I've got the blood of an Englishman."
Is Peter F Ford setting himself up?
"Maybe. A lot of people are going to slag me off as another egocentric Englishman. Some might condemn what I'm doing as being a bit camp or poxy. But it's fun – good, clean fun – and why not?"